Newt pulls past Little Ricky

I didn’t know there was such a difference in the way Republican delegates are counted. So despite all the media coverage spotlighting Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich is the real threat to Mitt Romney – at least, as far as the real, non-caucus delegate count goes. Hmm, this could get interesting:

WASHINGTON — Newt Gingrich has won more “bound” delegates than Rick Santorum so far in the Republican presidential primary, according to the official count kept by the Republican National Committee.

Former House Speaker Gingrich (R-Ga.), through Super Tuesday this past week, has won 107 delegates compared to Santorum’s 95, according to the RNC’s count.

The RNC does not count delegates from states like Iowa in its total. The Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses — eventually declared for Santorum — were given huge symbolic importance and played a big role in showing who the party’s voters preferred, but did not officially allocate any of the state’s 28 delegates to the national convention.

Many caucus states are the same way.

The role of delegates is to go to the party’s national convention and cast their ballot for a presidential candidate. A candidate needs a certain amount of delegates to win the nomination. This year, the magic number is 1,144.

So even though Gingrich has only won two primary contests, in South Carolina and Georgia, and former Sen. Santorum (R-Pa.) has won seven — in Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, Misssouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee — Gingrich has the lead in delegates that are solidly in his column.

[…] Gingrich is the only candidate whose delegate total is higher in the RNC tally than in the AP’s estimate. The numbers for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) come down, too, because the RNC does not count their wins in caucus states.